Optimising a PC for low latency audio

The settings detailed below are to ensure that ASIO performance is optimum when playing back or recording the highest channel counts whilst using a low sample buffer. This ensures that users can run sessions with very low round-trip-latency.

Please note that not all of the settings below are required to make RedNet PCIe function, and depending on the typical channel count of your session, sample rate and buffer size being used, some of these settings can be relaxed.

Bios Settings

There are a large number of user-configurable settings on PCs which can have a large impact on its ability to provide reliable low latency audio performance. Not all of the settings mentioned below will be available on every computer, however it is advised that you implement all the settings which are applicable to your PC. It is also worth noting that some features will be slightly differently labelled depending on the exact BIOS in use.

Hard Disk Drive Controller

Intel i Series chipsets have a built in SATA controller. This has the ability to act as a RAID controller in multiple hard drive configurations. Unlike traditional RAID systems (which use an add-on card) ICH10 and above implement the majority of RAID functionality in the host driver. This means that when configured as RAID, a large amount of processing time is consumed in the form of DPCs.

Focusrite recommends using AHCI configurations.

Please note that switching from RAID to AHCI will cause the drive to be formatted meaning all data is lost. Please ensure that your drive is backed up before switching to AHCI.

CPU Configuration

1. Hyperthreading: On

Please note that in some circumstances switching Hyperthreading to "Off" can bring about improvements in audio performance. Some experimentation here may be necessary.

2. Turbo Boost: On

3. Speedstep: Off

4. C States Control: Off

5. Hardware Prefetcher: On

6. Adjacent Cache Line Prefetch: On

7. Low power modes: Disabled

8. Remote Wake Up: Disabled

9. OS reassignment of IRQs for plug-and-play devices: Off

Windows Configuration

The following will ensure that Windows is set up to provide optimum audio performance rather than optimum visual appearance.

1. Ensure that all system drivers are up-to-date from the chipset/motherboard/expansion card manufacturer, rather than relying on Windows Update. Third party management software should not be installed, or stopped from running at start up, except where mandatory.

2. System --> Advanced Properties --> Advanced --> Performance (Visual): Adjust for best performance

3. System --> Advanced Properties --> Advanced --> Performance (Advanced): Best performance of Background Services

4. Depending on video card, switching off "Aero" may bring about improvements

5. Power Management --> Plan Settings --> Advanced. Switch off all power saving features. Switch off "PCIe Bus Link State Management".

6. Turn off "Automatic Update Checking"

7. Turn off all notifications in the "Service Center"

8. Ensure the latest Service Pack for Windows is installed

9. Ensure Windows Defender is not set to run automatically

10. Disable the Indexing Service (Windows Search)